IMG
Carole Zacchéo : “The war will strengthen the interest of investors and savers for the ESG theme”

According to Carole Zacchéo, CIO at Maif group, the french mutual insurance, an investor committed to an ambitious climate strategy, investments in favor of energy transition will increase, both in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy production.

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Next-Finance : Can you introduce your company ? What is your current outstanding assets and what is your current asset allocation?

Carole Zacchéo : MAIF (“Mutuelle Assurance des Instituteurs de France”) is a French mutual insurance company created in 1934 which has approximately 4 million members. At the end of 2021, the group’s outstandings amounted to 22 billion euros. In large masses, our asset allocation breaks down as follows:

  • rates and credit, including cash: 70% (corporate bonds and government securities)
  • listed and unlisted shares: 10%
  • real assets: 10%
  • other assets: 10%

Do you expect to change this allowance significantly with the war in Ukraine and galloping inflation?

We reduced our exposure to equity markets, even though we had no direct exposure to Russian or Ukrainian companies. Indirect exposure to these countries via the investment funds in which we are invested was almost nil.

We carried out some reductions and disposals in our directly managed bond portfolio of issuers that could be exposed to these zones, but these transactions represented low volumes.

Many institutional investors are putting in place a defensive portfolio positioning in anticipation of increased risks. Is this also your case? Do you use specific hedging strategies?

This is indeed what we have done recently, reducing positions in equities, high yield debt and financial debt. We do not use hedging strategies.

Do you think that this war will increase investors’ interest in ESG issues or, on the contrary, put it into perspective? For example, some arms manufacturers could find favor with ESG investors, whereas until now they were rather excluded from this type of fund...

Indeed, in my opinion, the war will strengthen the interest of investors and savers for the ESG theme. Given our current dependence on fossil fuels, the development of renewable energies should accelerate in the years to come.

With regard to MAIF, an investor committed to an ambitious climate strategy, investments in favor of energy transition will increase, both in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy production. Nor do we lose sight of the necessary social dimension of investments.

Indeed, in my opinion, the war will strengthen the interest of investors and savers for the ESG theme. Given our current dependence on fossil fuels, the development of renewable energies should accelerate in the years to come.
Carole Zacchéo, CIO at Maif group

Are you looking to reduce the carbon footprint of your portfolios? In concrete terms, what commitments have you made in terms of energy transition? What methods do you use to measure this carbon footprint within your portfolios?

Yes, we are looking to measure our carbon footprint as well as possible. To do this, we use external service providers such as Carbone 4 for example. Our objective is to align our portfolios in 2030 with the trajectory of 1.5° by 2050.

We are currently setting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets across asset portfolios by 2025. Setting these targets is also a commitment we made when joining the NZAOA last year.

Do you have a long-term objective of a 100% ESG allocation?

Our approach is already 100% ESG insofar as all our investments are subject to an extra-financial analysis in the same way as a financial analysis.

Furthermore, our SRI share objective for the MAIF Group is 90 % for 2022. This objective is improving from one year to the next, but it is true that the progression is now slower, in line with the inertia of the stock and especially with illiquid investments.

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Carole Zacchéo, CIO at Maif group

Do you delegate the management of your portfolio to asset management companies? Do you have profitability objectives for your portfolio? How has it performed in 2021?

Delegated asset management, via UCITS, concerns a third of our portfolio. We only directly manage the portfolio of investment grade bonds denominated in euros.

We have annual financial product objectives and therefore a profitability objective more than a performance objective.

This remained positive in 2021, driven by the good performance of the equity markets but penalized by the negative performance of the bonds which constitute the main allocation of our portfolio.

What will be your favorite subjects in the coming months? On which asset classes do you intend to position yourself?

In the coming months, we do not intend to make any major changes.

We are continuing our policy of strengthening unlisted assets (private debt, private equity, real estate and infrastructure). The rise in rates is also generating attractive buying opportunities for our core portfolio.

RF 10 May

Article also available in : English EN | français FR

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